And the award for Ultimate Disruptor goes to: Covid-19 – the game changing virus!
As its effects began to be felt in our part of the world, we determined our organizational resources should be focused on supporting the entire business community, members or not. The slogan “a rising tide lifts all boats” was appropriately coined by a chamber of commerce and that sentiment seems to fit scenarios like this, and our marine environment, perfectly. People were looking to us to solve problems. Initially we were fielding many questions, and had precious few answers. There were many days we went home feeling the weight of this community’s economic survival on our shoulders.
As time went on, we were no less busy, but became more comfortable in our role as a champion for our community, as a conduit for current and correct information, and as a catalyst for business change and growth.
Now that we are all more knowledgeable about the changes Covid-19 has wrought in every aspect of our lives, our board and staff are considering how our organization will adapt. This wholesale examination of purpose and the value we bring to members will be conducted in consultation with our members. Initially, business owners were concerned about surviving the pandemic but the rude nudge prompted many of them to examine their operations critically and they made changes that have increased profitability. The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce turned 108 this year and you can rest assured we will make adjustments so we can continue to provide comprehensive value to members well into the future.
What we discovered in the compulsory crash course in Coronavirus was that we are resilient, we are adaptive, and we are strong. Those who didn’t understand the value of a chamber of commerce bore witness to our ability to mobilize resources to protect companies so owners could stay focused on keeping their business afloat.
While our neighbours to the east and south have been dealing with instability and uncertainty, we had steady hands at the helm in our community, province, and our country. I could not be more proud of the work our chamber network has done in the last few months and of my colleagues across the Saanich Peninsula who work, arm in arm, with the rising tide, to lift all boats.